The NA Invite Top 100 is a project merging history and shenanigans with the purpose of highlighting some of the best players in North American TF2 history. Access the hub post here to view outlines, honorable mentions, and previous reveals. Tune in every Monday and Friday for the next release!
duwatna's first shot at Invite came in S14 with Runaway 5, but that's the cursed season (in more ways than one thanks to no class-specific data) so we'll conveniently brush that one aside. That leaves six seasons to look at: two with Street Hoops eSports, and four with froyotech. In his 20b debut, duwatna was 20th overall in frags which doesn't sound that special, and since Demomen usually don't lead the league in that statistic (there's only been one Demo player in the history of ESEA to lead Invite in frags) let's just use comparisons within the class. duwatna was 2nd in frags of all Demos, while owning the highest FPH. He would actually be #1 in FPH for four consecutive seasons, while playing against competition like Bdonski, Platinum, and xalox. After dummy retired in S16, froyotech stole away duwatna from 20b as replacement and I think it's safe to say that he did not disappoint his new teammates nor his fans. 58-6 across four seasons with three championships and an i52 victory along the way. He returned to 20b for one final stop with the 3rd most Demo frags and 4th best FPH.
In the very first season of ESEA back in early 2009, jaeger and loaded went 8-0 in regular season and then 3-0 in playoffs, defeating Reptile's Pandemic to win the inaugural ESEA TF2 title. jaeger was part of the first group of players to repeat as Invite champions when loaded took the crown in S4 and then compLexity in S5. In the deciding map of grand finals against Blight on Badlands, jaeger actually top fragged
for his team - albeit barely. During his two championship seasons, jaeger tallied a K/D of 430-362, which is surprising since he was the roaming Soldier. He was a fundamentally sound player that helped develop the early meta of roamer: incorporating jumps and hiding spots into his playstyle at a time where it wasn't commonplace yet. Furthermore, he was a community contributor in competitive TF2's infancy, posting his Tips
series to Youtube. Sidenote: jaeger competed in ESEA's Starcraft II league in S8, went 12-4, and finished top 8. Pretty cool. He is the last of the super boomers (by my standards), so let us pay homage to one of the founding fathers of Soldier.
As captain of eMazing Gaming, pocket Soldier enoryt led the next generation of talent as eMg stormed Invite in their first season to the tune of a 10-6 record and LAN berth in S6. The following season he could capture his first of three Invite titles, while landing in the top four for Soldier frags and frags per hour. It would become his standard as you could count on enoryt to be top of the Soldier leaderboards, not to mention always having great DPM numbers (though ESEA did not track this properly until S8 LAN). In his first three seasons, he would at minimum rank 4th or higher in those categories. In S9, he logged a FPH stat of 59.5, which was 3rd best in the entire division behind only teammate clockwork and Classic Mixup's TLR. At LAN
, enoryt put on his most dominant performance yet, wracking up 139-79 in total K/D with the 3rd highest FPH again (52.5). In map two of grand finals against Mixup, enoryt put on a Granary showcase
, going 30-16 with 375 DPM to secure his second championship. While he did decline in his final two seasons, those peaks remain a pivotal chapter in the early Golden Era. Besides, who could forget some of
highfive ranks 25th all time on ESEA's frag leaderboard, and that includes his second account (shoutouts to JELLY_LIPS). He has placed top three for overall frags and Scout frags numerous times in his career, including his rookie season with cafe monster. For his first playoffs berth he actually played Soldier for EVL Gaming in S22. In two seasons with SVIFT NA highfive helped them go 24-8, 2nd and 3rd place finishes, and a Rewind II appearance. In the RGL Era, he got a pair of silver medals in the early seasons with teams like :) ) and Ascent. In fact he's gotten 2nd more times than 3rd and 4th combined. That's not a negative given the froyotech dominance during this stretch. highfive also possesses the offclass gene, playing the aforementioned Soldier for EVL and then Demoman for Highfive Demoman (who could've possibly guessed that) in RGL S2. He also should have made playoffs that latter season, but RGL decided that wins weren't important back then, whoops. Therefore, he's a honorary member of the "playoffs on all combat classes" club. Fun trivia: there has never been a combat class player to lead ESEA Invite in assists...except highfive. And he did it twice. Let's go highfive, what a team player.
"Shrugger build" echoed throughout ESEA S11 as he made a statement debut with Mihalys Flow, tearing opponents apart (51.1 FPH) with Scout partner Ruwin on the way to a 15-1 regular season. After vhalin's 16-0 with CheckSix, that's the next best record for any Invite rookie ever. Unfortunately for him and Flow their LAN run was forgettable and they ended 4th, but Shrugger's redemption arc came two seasons later with High Rollers Gaming, where he'd land top four in overall frags, Scout frags, and Scout FPH. They would not drop a map during S13 LAN, becoming the 3rd team in Invite history to complete the perfect 19-0 season. Oh and then they did it again the following season. After HRG and iT, Shrugger would take a brief internship with 6cuties before finishing his career with the eLevate, Ascent, and Ronin lineups - perennial grand finalists. When Ascent went all the way in S20, Shrugger had an incredible playoffs performance. In upper bracket finals
, Shrugger totaled 122 frags across three maps while knocking froyotech to lower bracket in the process. Overall he averaged a staggering 68.4 FPH that postseason which stands at 2nd best in ESEA history.
I had no idea that yight's first-ever ESEA match was in Invite (S18). There's probably less than five players in history with that little distinction, at least post-2008 anyway. He wouldn't return to the division until S24, but by then he was ready. While mario party 4 didn't make playoffs, yight impressed with the 3rd most overall frags. After a couple of seasons with Gnomercy and woodpig, yight took off. Played Demo for SVIFT NA and got 3rd. Had three seasons with Ascent where he averaged 47.8 FPH on Scout, finishing 2nd every time. The statistical anecdotes end there as ESEA does, but best believe yight's RGL campaigns have been just as good if not better. Between 100 Beasts, Corsia, GlobalClan Ice yight was always putting in work alongside players like botmode, ash, and branslam. Then of course there was S6 with Witness Gaming, and he slayed the froyotech giant in grand finals, even top fragging in the deciding map
. Since the second half of 2018, he has played in nearly every season, always making playoffs and almost always making top two. yight also got 2nd at i65 with Ascent, showing that he can perform on the international stage.
Much like how it was predetermined that the Street Hoops twins would end up ranked, the same could be said for this famous Soldier duo. Heads up for the sake of consistency I'm just gonna call these teams Ascent (primarily because that's the team he won Invite with, but also going through Exertus eSports, eLevate, and Ronin would get a little tiring). Regardless as Ma3la climbed the ranks, his statistics remained constantly loaded. Starting from ESEA S15, he would rank top five in frags for three consecutive seasons. He was never outside the top five Soldiers in FPH. Once Classic Mixup took their final performance after S17, Ma3la and the rest of Ascent would fill the power vacuum as the anti-b4nny team. During their championship run in S20, Ma3la's 245 regular season frags and 39.5 FPH were the 3rd most of all Soldiers, and highest for any roamer. Having played both Soldier roles at the high level for a very long time (only two other solo Soldier mains in history have logged more seasons on the class), Ma3la reserves his spot among the elite.
Joining Ma3la is his Soldier partner in crime for many of their Invite conquests. Wreck-it rando spent two seasons with Apocalypse Gaming before landing a spot on the revamped lost in translation lineup, becoming an integral part of NATF2 history. For the next eight seasons of his career, rando would spearhead the combo of various Ascent rosters that would clash with b4nny's froyotech for the coveted top spot in Invite. While the meta constantly shifted throughout the course of history, one thing remained steadfast: rando's style of pocket Soldier. He played a heals-heavy style most reminiscent of years gone by, and it still worked. rando would constantly rank head of the class in FPH, while leading all Soldiers in frags on two separate occasions (S16 Exertus eSports and S24 EVL Gaming). Overall he's 8th in frags, and for Soldier mains is 2nd only to blaze. Heals received was a statistic (albeit an admittedly askew one) that ESEA implemented starting S17, and despite rando playing only half of the seasons it was tracked still sits 3rd all-time in HR. To put that into perspective, b4nny is 4th with nearly 70,000 less heals received. But anyway back to more important topics, I gave rando the better spot than Ma3la because he's played more seasons of pocket and when compared to roamer is the more influential Soldier role.
What do you get when someone is naturally talented at the projectile classes, having high DPS output combined with just overall solid mechanics? One possible answer to this query is sighguy
. This Demoman and Soldier player has been around since 2016 and for the past three years (and nine seasons) has never missed the playoffs. When froyotech had their revolving door of pocket Soldiers towards the end of ESEA, sigh took a turn and delivered an outstanding season. With K/D of 269-161 for a 1.67 ratio, that happens to be the second best of any froyo pocket during ESEA, only losing to S18 lansky's 1.89). It should then come as no surprise to hear that this coincided with one of 4G's most dominant seasons ever, dropping just eight rounds during regular season and four in playoffs. Those 12 rounds lost is the record low for any ESEA Invite team and really only "outdone" by some of their RGL campaigns which didn't even have a full 16 regular season games. Apologies for focusing on this one performance for pretty much his entire blurb but it's damn worth talking about. sigh also possesses the 3rd longest streak of consecutive Invite seasons ever at 16, and if not for a break during RGL S6 would have said streak be active, and also tie habib for 2nd as well.
Between the four graduating recruits of S21 froyotech, paddie has easily carved out the best career of them all. Granted part of that is thanks to his longer resume and two tenures with froyo, but let's read between the lines. He joins the surprisingly small list of Scout / Soldier dual mains on the list and has the most impressive numbers by comparison. In longevity, he ties for the 6th most seasons of any Invite player. In accolades, his five championships are nothing to scoff at (only eight players have more). Statistically, paddie has piloted both Soldier and Scout to some high peaks. In ESEA S23 paddie led all Soldiers in FPH with 52.7, with 2nd in category being 46.7. In his first two full seasons on Scout (S28 New God Flow and S30 Chaos Control), he would finish top five in overall frags and 2nd among Scouts. paddie also has some LAN experience with i58, Esport United Community Rumble, and Rewind II. As a final footnote on paddie, it's a shame his RGL S7 stint with Milkies ended prematurely, was excited to see how his leadership would've helped that team grow. Not that it would've mattered since we're only tracking up to S6 but yeah.
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